The European Parliament is set to vote on the report on the Data Act, a proposal tabled by the European Commission in February 2022. The report, which was approved by the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (“ITRE”) in February 2023, seeks to grant users a right to access and share the data they generate and to impose a number of obligations on data-holders.

The Data Act is an effort to unlock the untapped potential of 'business to business' (B2B) and 'business to government' (B2G) data sharing and aims to bring numerous benefits for citizens. These benefits include improved personalised medicine, new mobility solutions, and contributions to the European Green Deal.

The draft legislation proposed by the Commission would also require private companies to make data they hold available to public sector bodies on request, in situations where there is an exceptional need for such data (e.g. public health emergencies, natural disasters, major cybersecurity incidents). Furthermore, the draft text introduces a set of minimum regulatory requirements to make it easier to switch between cloud service providers and puts in place safeguards to address unlawful third-party access to non-personal data held in the EU.

The report approved by the ITRE committee clarifies types of data falling within the scope of the regulation, how the new rules would apply to different players, and strengthens trade secret protection for data-holders. Additionally, the report clarifies the scenario of 'public emergency' allowing public bodies to request access to privately held data and specifying that data-holders should be entitled to fair remuneration for granting that access.

The European Data Innovation Board, established by the Data Governance Act, would be granted a role in coordinating enforcement of the regulation. MEPs are expected to vote on their first-reading position during the March I plenary session. In the Council, Member States have yet to agree on a general approach.

The proposed Data Act has the potential to bring numerous benefits to European citizens, and the European Parliament is set to vote on its position on the matter. It remains to be seen what the outcome of the vote will be and how it will shape the future of data sharing in the EU.

Disclaimer This article is not intended to impart legal advice and readers are asked to seek verification of statements made before acting on them.
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